Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eats, Shoots and Leaves ~ by Lynne Truss, 2004

Last year, I mentioned this book in a post about grammar and punctuation, but I didn't think of making it a "real" book review. Here's what I said:

Does bad grammar make you [sic]? Me, too. To read an editor's post about misused quotation marks, followed by her readers' comments on bad grammar, click here:

After you read that, get yourself a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss. The book is hilarious!

To teach a class on grammar and punctuation I used a program called "I saw a dollar walking down the street." Don't you just want to ask, "Which way was it going?"

So now, belatedly, here's a review of the book.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss was published in 2003 in Great Britain, followed by the American edition in 2004. It's nonfiction, of course, and sounds terribly boring because it's about punctuation. But it isn't at ALL boring, I promise.

I'm adding this larger picture of the book's cover so you can see that the panda on the ladder is painting out (whiting out) that comma between "Eats" and "Shoots." (Click to enlarge the picture.) The title comes from information about pandas, that a panda "eats shoots and leaves." Bamboo shoots, that is, and bamboo leaves. If you put a comma where it doesn't belong, it appears that the panda eats (something), then shoots (notice the gun in the other panda's paw), and leaves (the scene of the crime). Gotta be careful about those commas. Wow, they can really change the meaning of a sentence!

I already wrote that the book is hilarious, so you know I had fun reading it. For that reason I give it a high rating.

Rated: 9/10, an excellent book.


Linda Jacobs said...

I read this a couple years ago and loved it, too! As an English teacher it was right up my alley! I shared quite a bit of it with my kids and they got a kick out of it, too.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

I keep meaning to read it and never get round to it - I think, mostly, because I'm worried I'm going to be reading one long grammar lesson, and I've had enough of those in my time! But given your review, I think I'll have to revise my opinion!

Snickollet said...

Hey, Bonnie,

Thanks for the link.

I *loved* this book. It takes someone with real talent to make a book about punctuation not only interesting but laugh-out-loud funny, doesn't it?

Bonnie Jacobs said...

The single sentence I used last year to describe this book ("The book is hilarious!") is in a league with Cady's summary of And Tango Makes Three ("It was about penguins"). I guess that means she'll be doing wordy, full scale book reviews by next year?

Read all of Cady's review here:

Teddy Rose said...

What a fun review Bonnie! Thank you!

This one is on my TBR!

Rebecca said...

I loved this book too. Isn't it great when a "reference" book is so delightful?!

Beth said...

Bonnie, I must confess--I think I am often guilty of grammar and punctuation errors. I had very little specific instruction in middle or high school, and I didn't go to college, so I suppose I've learned mostly from just reading. Perhaps reading the book you recommend will help--it sounds delightful.

My daughter Ariel tells me I use way too many commas in my writing. She tells me I need to commit "comma-cide." (Mmm...did I use those quotation marks correctly?) :-)